TBWA\Dublin to focus only on globally recognised awards

Business, Creativity, Festivals & Awards

TBWA\Dublin will cease to enter local creative awards and will focus only on globally recognized awards, including Cannes Lions, D&AD and the Clios. The move comes after the agency rebranded as TBWA\Dublin, introducing themselves as the ‘Refounders’ of the twenty three year old agency, and hired a new ECD, John Kane, who has over ten Cannes Lions and over thirty international awards to his name.

Explaining the move, Kane says:

We want to be a world-class creative agency that just so happens to be based in Dublin. It makes sense that in order to achieve this we aim for only world-class creative awards. We want to change the height of the bar and not settle for anything less, and from what I’ve already experienced in TBWA\Dublin we certainly have the talent in every department to aim for it.

We’re not saying local creative awards aren’t relevant, what we are saying is that at this moment in time they are not appropriate to us and our ambitions for TBWA\Dublin. I’ve been away for fifteen years and coming back into the business here you realise there’s a certain comfort level with the standard of work that’s not really healthy. When agencies are walking away with over twenty local awards in one night you really have to question the value of that to the industry and, more importantly, our clients.

To reach the demanded standard, Kane believes it will take a shift in thinking and a change of mind-set:

In my mind creativity, used in the right way, is a powerful tool for business. Agencies need to create work that goes beyond advertising and creates a compass for a brand. It’s our job to come up with ideas that have a real effect on revenue and makes clients reassess what an agency can do for them. We need to get our seat back at the business table.

Mark Nolan, Chief Strategy Officer of TBWA\Dublin:

Now, more than ever before, we are placing an onus on bringing strategy and creative even closer together. We believe that the most effective and powerful work always stems from getting this critical junction right. This is hardly a Eureka moment, but we see very little evidence of this happening today across our industry. It warrants attention and we feel we have the right talent to excel here not just on the local stage but beyond.

Deirdre Waldron, CEO of TBWA\Dublin:

For now, we are taking a break from entering local creative awards to concentrate on our higher ambitions, but we will still be very much part of the Irish industry. We still believe passionately in the work the industry bodies around Ireland do. By working with our industry colleagues we can hopefully help inspire the next generation to drive the Irish advertising industry forward.


The TBWA\Dublin Group was established in Dublin in 1992. The driving vision in the early years was to challenge the conventions of the business and to lead the thinking within the industry. From the very beginning, the company earned a reputation for strategic insight and creative excellence. In 2002, the agency joined the TBWA\ network when it joined Omnicom. Today the TBWA\Dublin Group is a multi award winning full service agency, which includes the TBWA\DAN Data Lab and the TBWA\Make production company.